- Title: PAKISTAN: Pakistan court allows Sharifs to take back Punjab
- Date: 1st April 2009
- Summary: ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN (MARCH 31, 2009) (REUTERS) SUPREME COURT OF PAKISTAN BUILDING PAKISTAN FLAG LAWYERS ARRIVING AT COURT COURT USHERS CARRYING FILES SUPPORTERS OF FORMER PAKISTANI PRIME MINISTER NAWAZ SHARIF CHANTING: "Sharif your supporters are innumerable" (SOUNDBITE) (Urdu) RAJA ZAFAR-UL-HAQ, A SENIOR LEADER OF PAKISTAN MUSLIM LEAGUE NAWAZ (PML-N), SAYING: "The court has clarified the entire situation through its decision; there is no ambiguity now. From today, Shahbaz Sharif will once again take charge as Chief Minister of Punjab" VARIOUS OF SUPPORTERS CHANTING: "Look! Look! The Lion comes!" SUPPORTERS DISTRIBUTING SWEET MORE OF SUPPORTERS CHANTING (SOUNDBITE) (Urdu) KHAWAJA ASIF, ANOTHER LEADER OF PAKISTAN MUSLIM LEAGUE NAWAZ (PML-N), SAYING: "This decision has rectified a very big wrong that was done to the Pakistani nation. We salute the judiciary" SHARIF SUPPORTERS CHANTING
- Embargoed: 16th April 2009 13:00
- Location: Pakistan
- Country: Pakistan
- Topics: Domestic Politics
- Reuters ID: LVABZF2P1QVB2WH63VD3TPD0OKC
- Aspect Ratio:
- Story Text: Pakistan's Supreme Court suspends its earlier ruling barring former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his brother Shahbaz from holding elected office.
Pakistan's Supreme Court on Tuesday (March 31) suspended a ruling barring former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his brother Shahbaz from holding elected office and restored their government in the key province of Punjab.
President Asif Ali Zardari plunged Pakistan into a political crisis in February by dismissing the government in Punjab after the Supreme Court ruled that the Sharif brothers could not hold elected office because of old convictions.
In its latest decision, the court suspended that ruling and allowed Shahbaz Sharif, who was chief minister of Punjab, to resume office.
"The court has clarified the entire situation through its decision; there is no ambiguity now. From today, Shahbaz Sharif will once again take charge as Chief Minister of Punjab," said Raja Zafar-ul-Haq, a senior member of Sharif's Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) told reporters soon after the court's decision.
A one-year-old civilian federal government, led by Zardari's Pakistan's Peoples' Party (PPP), appeared shaky this month as Sharif drove through Punjab at the head of a mass protest that raised fears of a violent climax in Islamabad.
The government placed barricades around the capital and put the army on alert as Sharif led the so-called Long March protest rally from the eastern city of Lahore.
Zardari imposed federal rule, known as governor's rule, after dismissing Shahbaz Sharif's government. The Sharif brothers said Zardari was behind the February 25 court ruling.
"This decision has rectified a very big wrong that was done to the Pakistani nation. We salute the judiciary," said Khawaja Asif, another PML-N leader.
Fearful of instability in a nuclear-armed nation already under threat from al Qaeda and Taliban militants, Western governments and the Pakistan army persuaded Zardari to defuse the crisis by submitting to Sharif's demand for the reinstatement of a top judge.
Having reluctantly restored Iftikhar Chaudhry as Supreme Court chief justice, Zardari said on Saturday (March 28) he would let Sharif's party take power again in Punjab, Pakistan's largest and most politically influential province.
Zardari, widower of assassinated former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, lifted governor's rule on Monday (March 30).
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